Finding Prenatal Care
Did you know, that when you become pregnant, you will visit your doctor about 15 times in a 9 month span. That doesn’t include the birth of the child or any other emergency type visits that may occur in between. That’s 15 pre-natal visits from 4 weeks to 40 weeks and any extra time after if you have a late bloomer. You are going to spend a lot of time with the doctor, and/or health center who/that will be delivering your baby, so your are going to want to like them/it. That is why it is important to do a little research once you find out that you are pregnant.
If you have had a lady-parts doctor that you love and adore, you should still take some time to get familiar with their maternal care, and discuss your delivery plan with them.
Even if you have already had your first pre-natal visit, you can still search around for a different pre-natal plan.
Choose type of Care
When it comes to prenatal care, there are actually different types of doctors available depending on what kind of specific care you are looking for, and how you plan on delivering. To break down what it is you are hoping for, here is a list of practitioner types and how they provide their care.
Obstetrician – Gynecologist – A health care professional who has specialized training with a medical degree in female reproductive systems. They are licensed and board certified, and normally practice in a hospital, group practice, or private practice. Your delivery would be in a hospital.
Maternal – Fetal Medicine Specialist – An OB-GYN who is skilled in high risk pregnancies, and is licensed and certified. Your delivery would be in a hospital.
Family Practice Physician – A general practitioner with a medical degree with advanced training in female medicine, including obstetrics. Uually only deals with low risk deliveries in a hospital.
Certified Nurse – Midwife -A provider with a nursing program plus degree in midwifery. They are trained in caring for mom’s and babies and work with doctors for support. Midwives may deliver in a hospital, birth center, or your home.
Choose Type of Practice
Solo practice – You may find a single doctor with his or her own practice who is supported by nurses and works with a hospital to deliver your baiy. You will only see this doctor during each pre-natal visit.
Group Practice – A group practice will include multiple specialists. You may only have one doctor or you may end up seeing different doctors. Depending on who is on call, you may not know which doctor will deliver your baby until your day of delivery. If you have a planned c-section or inducement, you may know who your doctor is.
Combination of both Doctors and mid-wives – The practice is compiled of doctors and mid-wives that may all be involved in your pregnancy or you may see only one doctor or mid-wife during your pre-natal care.
Mid-wife – If you choose to deliver at home or a birthing center, then you will have a mid-wife during your prenatal care and delivery.
Do Your Research
Once you decide on what type of delivery or care you want, be sure to do your research when choosing a practitioner. As you search, read reviews from other mothers. Read the good reviews but hone in on the bad ones too. Are the complaints outrages and concerning or do they seem a little over dramatic? Bring these concerns up to the doctor if they’re reviews from someone you really like. Is the care providers response realistic and genuine or do their answers seem misleading?
Check out their website, and read about the doctor and other team members. Read through the services they offer, and check to see if their delivery care is posted. Do they have contacts listed for other services like a breastfeeding consultant, postpartum care, birthing classes, prenatal courses, etc?
Ask around. Do you know other mama’s? Who were their doctors? Is there someone they loved or someone they absolutely didn’t like? If so, why? Ask women in your neighborhood Facebook group.
Finally, sit down with potential providers and have a one on one discussion with them. Ask them questions, address concerns, talk about what you should expect during the prenatal and delivery process. Don’t be afraid to inquire about their history with deliveries, and how long they have been practicing for. Talk to them about your own concerns and questions you have about your own pregnancy.
It’s important that you find a prenatal doctor you trust and are comfortable with. One that fits your own needs and wants for your pregnancy and delivery experience. I have heard too many horror stories of women hating their experiences. Don’t settle and don’t ignore red flags. Be reasonable, and understand that not everything is going to go as planned, but advocate for yourself enough that you feel confident with your choice. As a new mother, there are times you may feel scared and panicked. Having a health care personal that makes you feel reassured and safe is really important.
Important Questions to Ask When Searching for a Doctor
What should I expect during labor and delivery?
Can I discuss my birth plan?
Is there someone on call in case I have concerns or questions?
How long after my due date would you want to Induce?
Will I be seeing multiple doctors or just you?
Is there support offered if I choose to breastfeed?
Do you have experience with high risk deliveries?
Who can I have in the delivery room with me?
How many ultrasounds will I have?
What does your Post-Natal care look like?
Is there someone I can talk to if I experience Postpartum Depression or Anxiety?
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*Disclaimer – Statements made in this post are of my own opinions, views and thoughts. I am not a professional and should not be regarded as such.
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